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December 6, 2011 / Political Fluency

Newt Gingrich is a Bad Matchup for Republicans Against Obama

It’s not just that the Democrats would love to run against him.

It’s not just that he is so unlikeable that he can’t appeal to independents who are necessary to win the Presidency.

And there’s the problem that he is “a bull who carries his own china shop with him” *

Then there’s the sentiment that got Obama elected – the desire for an outsider to “fix” Washington – cannot possibly be harnessed by a man who has been either a lobbyist or politician in that city since 1979!
You want contrast against an incumbent in an election. Two of the “white knights” Republicans were clamoring for had it. Mitch Daniels is a governor of a small-town state in the Midwest who is short and unassuming in contrast to the taller Obama and his big city cultural connection and large crowds at his campaign speeches. Chris Christie is also a governor who is a fighter in contrast to Obama’s mediating and detached disposition. While never gaining any traction early-on, even Tim Pawlenty offered a contrast as a boring Midwest governor in the bluest of states (Minnesota was the only state Reagan didn’t win in 1984). He also spoke of Sam’s Club Republicanism that is meant to appeal to the normally Democratic working class that Obama is having a lot of trouble with.
Newt Gingrich does not contrast with Obama the way Mitt Romney does. Romney is a business and political executive outsider running as a CEO that will focus exclusively on financial and economic affairs of the country while pointing out Obama and Washington’s failures in these matters.
Gingrich, on the other hand, speaks and thinks like a legislator – what Obama was before he was President.  Obama spoke about how the stimulus would keep unemployment low through something not directly related like extensions of unemployment benefits and COBRA benefits for those who were out of work. Similarly, Gingrich speaks of child labor laws not allowing the lower class to have role models of hard workers when they are young, never realizing that any job a young worker takes is one that an unemployed adult might have been willing to take for some sort of income in these trying times.
It’s not enough to contrast ideology, there must be a contrast in presentation. Both Obama and Gingrich speak in grandiose terms about themselves, their ideas, and their ideologies which is certainly a factor in their lack of popularity as each poll in the 40’s. While most of the traffic in DC has always been caused by the 18 wheelers used to haul the hundreds of elected egos around the capitol, Obama vs Gingrich would be the most-nakedly narcissistic pair of candidates America has ever seen – certainly in the last 50 years.
*Winston Churchill

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